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Progress made in HK Disneyland expansion talks

SUBSTANTIAL progress has been made in the negotiations on the expansion plans of the Hong Kong Disneyland between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the Walt Disney Company, according to local media today.

John Tsang, the Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government, revealed the news after meeting with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo on Friday in Los Angeles, the second leg of his official visit that also took him to San Francisco and Vancouver, the English-language newspaper South China Morning Post reported.

"I am happy to note that substantial progress has been made in the negotiations. While a number of issues remain to be sorted out, both sides are committed to bringing the discussions to a successful conclusion in the near future," Tsang said after the meeting.

"We are starting to see breakthroughs on a number of key issues," Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Rita Lau told reporters in Hong Kong yesterday, adding that the HKSAR government will try its best for interest of the public.

Lau said the two sides have kept on with the talks over the past months and Tsang made clear what the HKSAR government wanted in the meeting with Disney management.

Details of the outcome were expected to be announced after Tsang returned to Hong Kong next week, said the newspaper.

Hong Kong Disneyland said it welcomed the progress on expansion talks.

Hong Kong Disneyland is a joint venture between the HKSAR government and Walt Disney Company, with the former holding a slightly larger stake. It opened to visitors in 2005 and currently includes a theme park with four lands and two themed hotels. The smallest among the several Disneyland theme parks worldwide, the actual park has roughly a third of the 126 hectares of land area that is home to the whole of the park operations.

The two stakeholders have been in talks on the expansion plans to increase the attractiveness of the park. The Walt Disney Company issued a statement in March saying it was suspending the creation and design works on the expansion project, drawing criticism from senior officials of the HKSAR government.


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